Chase Clayton UBC Thunderbirds Ice Hockey Coach Kelvin Cech Tips and Drills

School, Hockey, & Chase Clayton: Breaking Down University Life | Part 1

In Culture by Kelvin Cech

If you asked Chase Clayton a few years ago what he did for a living, he’d tell you he was a hard-nosed left winger playing hockey for the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League.

These days he’d include the first half of that statement, then add he’s a busy student at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia in addition to number 22 with the UBC Men’s Hockey Team.

And number one in your hearts.

I caught up with Chase last week on a late night flight back to Vancouver following our opening weekend series with the University of Manitoba Bisons. Chase was studying and I was watching video following our game two loss.

Both of us needed a distraction.

Kelvin: What’s the toughest part of being a student athlete?

Chase: That’s kind of a broad question Cheech.

Cut me some slack man, it’s been a long day. The toughest part of writing is asking good questions.

(Laughs) Well, I’d say finding a balance for sure between hockey, school, and your personal life. It’s tough to manage your time properly. You have to allocate time. We had an awesome presentation by a former coach and alum, Grant Cumberbirch, and he gave us some great tips to manage our time. There’s also your body to think of. Being ready for practice is one thing, you also have to absorb course material and stay up to date with assignments.

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So you just jumped back and forth between school, hockey, and life. I can hardly keep up and I’m just the interviewer.

I know, it’s hard. I’m taking a full course load which is five classes per semester. That’s a typical workload that a student takes on when they’re not an athlete and their only focus is school. All students want to take advantage of extracurricular opportunities as well. Being a student is a tall task if you put everything you have into it. For example, networking events are huge. I’m in the Sauder School of Business so those are important, you want to translate your studies into tangible work experience.

This summer I did an internship at Investor’s Group. Being at Sauder, internships are really competitive. Everyone is vying for a limited number of opportunities. You have to try to separate yourself academically to get your foot in the door.

Does being an athlete help?

Yeah there are benefits. You have an established network as an athlete. I got my internship through Sauder, but lots of guys on the team use their network. We have mentors for our hockey team that really help. My mentor is Matt Reid, he’s an alumni and goes the extra mile to help me when I have questions or need some guidance from someone besides teachers or even you guys as coaches.

I’d say being an athlete could give you an edge, a lot of companies see that as a positive. Those jobs in the database are seen by every undergrad so there are hundreds of other students applying as well.

Why does being an athlete give you an edge? Is that really fair?

Sure it is. Companies see you already have an established work ethic and the ability to work within a team at an elite level of university hockey. You have to be intrinsically motivated to be competitive for yourself but also to help a team.

What’s clear to me is how motivated Chase is to succeed on and off the ice. I know he talks about only focusing on being a pro hockey player prior to coming to UBC, but there’s no way he could manage what he’s doing without learning and internalizing lessons as a young athlete growing up in the lower mainland.

Good job, Chase’s former coaches.

Next up in part 2 with Chase: 

“It was stressful. But I like stressful.”

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About the Author
Kelvin Cech

Kelvin Cech


Former editor in chief of The Coaches Site, current head coach of the Winkler Flyers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. See All Posts By Kelvin


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